I always thought the idea of education was to learn to think for your self.
~ Robin Williams, as John Keating in Dead Poets Society (1989)
Thinking for your self? Along with the noble idea of education there’s the daily business of education. You are in that business, and it really amounts to thinking (at least some of the time) for others, doesn’t it? We have spent the better part of this past week visiting schools and facilities from Jacksonville to Ft. Lauderdale. It has been a road show with several stops along the way. This journey was all part of our exciting WeatherSTEM project. What did we find?
We were met face-to-face with the energy of getting ready for the new school year in schools and facilities across Florida. The signs are rampant. We have all seen it. The thrill of getting ready for a fresh start seems to be leaking into the tired buildings:
“How was your summer?” The conversations and smiles seem to be wearing all the colors and cleanliness of new beginnings. Waves of new life roll through shiny hallways and welcoming doors. It’s that moment laid out as an opportunity for a better ending. It’s that smell of a clean slate, a tabula rasa:
There’s a train coming
There is the overriding hope that this year will be a bit different; it will be a little better. New seeds make for new plants make for new fruit. There will be new discoveries, new adventures, and new rewards. All the newness makes everything look a shade better. Everyone began years ago the same way the newest members of your profession, the first-year teachers, will begin this year. Look in their eyes beyond the nervous fear. Focus on the hope; focus on the possibility for realizing the spectacular. The air has been full of diamonds this past week. Sadly, the dimming will likely begin in another week without your help. Those sparks do indeed fly off your efforts and light the sky when you reach for the spectacular. You can do it! Now what?
Please, don’t worry so much. Because in the end, none of us have very long on this Earth. Life is fleeting. And if you’re ever distressed, cast your eyes to the summer sky when the stars are strung across the velvety night. And when a shooting star streaks through the blackness, turning night into day, make a wish, and think of me. Make your life spectacular. I know I did.
~ Robin Williams, as Jack Powell in Jack (1996)